Back-to-school shopping is shaping up to look a lot different this year.
With indoor operations of malls closed, face coverings required in public and a patchwork of district policies for learning come the start of the school year, the selling season at retail will be anything but normal.
Still, Deloitte researchers don’t see doom and gloom for a selling period that has traditionally been a strong one for retailers catering to elementary age and on up through to college-age clothing and accessories.
Spending this year in the category of kindergarten through 12th grade students, will tick up slightly, from $27.8 billion in 2019 to $28.1 billion this year, according to the firm’s annual back-to-school survey.
That equates to about $529 per household, which is up from last year’s $492 and includes spending on sanitation products and furniture for homeschooling, a category that had not been included in prior years’ surveys.
The college set is expected to spend a collective $25.4 billion or $1,345 per student, the study said.
In line with a general theme of digital doing double duty in helping companies generate revenue during the COVID-induced downturn is the report’s estimation that the spend on technology will ramp up as learning-from-home continues.
Consumer spending on technology will average about $488 per household with students and parents shelling out 28% more this year on computers, smartphones, tablets and other tech versus last year.
Meanwhile, clothing and more traditional school supplies will see spending fall 17% even as the segment continues to account for the largest share of spend this year. Households with elementary- through high school-age students will spend $336 on average.
Good news for those retailers with robust online shopping: Online spending is expected to be up 37% to $10.4 billion this season, while in-store shopping is expected to fall 43% to $12.2 billion.